31 Days of Halloween – Day 18 – We are watching a movie about us watching a movie
You’d think I’d enjoy In the Mouth of Madness (1994), with its surreal plot and nonsensical adventure, but I was confused more than entertained. This movie stars Sam Neill, the guy who plays the scientist in Jurassic Park. Here, he works for a publishing firm, but he’s not a writer, he’s more of a consultant. He’s brought in to find a guy who really is a writer, who has gone missing. This information is given about ten minutes into the movie, and after that, it’s off to crazy land. Thanks John Carpenter!
Neill’s character John tries to discover what’s so special about this writer’s books. He’s never read any of them. After he samples some of the horror novels, he starts hallucinating and seeing things. He rips off all the covers to the paperbacks, makes a map, and somehow discovers the town where the writer has gone off to. Stupidly enough, I think this is where the movie diverges into an allegory or an existential meta-story. Whatever.
Charleton Heston plays the head publisher who sends John on his adventure to find his best-selling author. He sends Julia with him, as she’s a loyal editor at the company. All she wants to do is find this writer, because he apparently has a novel that has yet to be published. They go on a car trip to this little town, and see some weird stuff along the way. They see a kid on a bike in the middle of the night, then a Grandma on a bike, and accidentally hit her with the car. She’s alright though, because she gets up and wheels off. Uhh, okay whatever.
The rest of the movie is nonsensical. The writer’s books seem to inspire people to riot and act like idiots. This must be a metaphor for the strength of the written word, but I’m only guessing. Eventually, John figures out that he’s a character in a novel, and goes to a movie about himself in the movie. Yeah, it’s confusing.
In all, I don’t get this movie. Usually I agree with the critics, but not this time. This movie is overrated. There’s confusing, then there’s crap like this movie or in a Stanley Kubrick “classic”. At least Stanley Kubrick movies look amazing, but In the Mouth of Madness isn’t to that level of cinematography. I think it has plot that’s meant to involve the audience, kinda like Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, but I’m not sure where it does that. I’m not sure about much, because it blends allegory and existential meanings to explain something about society. Or fiction. Or the human condition. I’m not sure which. What a stupid review this is, because I’ve wasted like five paragraphs saying I can’t understand this piece of crap. Oh well.
31. Poltergeist (1982) vs Poltergeist (2015)
30. Blair Witch Project (1999)
29. Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
28. The Wicker Man (1973) and The Wicker Man Remake
27. Tales from the Darkside, the Movie (1990)
26. Saw (2004)
25. The Prophecy (1995)
24. The Hills have Eyes (1977)
23. House of the Long Shadows (1983)
22. Creepshow (1982)
21. Phantasm (1979)
20. The Omen (1976) vs Damien: The Omen II
19. We Are Still Here (2015)
18. The Guest
17. Return of the Living Dead (1985)
15. The House that Dripped Blood (1971)
14. Army of Darkness (1992)
13. In the Mouth of Madness (1994)
12. Friday the 13th Part III
11. Theater of Blood (1973)
10. House of Wax (1953) vs House of Wax (2005)
9. Hellraiser Inferno (2000)
8. Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943)
7. The Changeling (1980)
6. The Eye (2002)
5. The Hitcher (1986)
4. Paranormal Activity (2007)
3. 28 Days Later (2003)
2. Suspiria (1977)
1. Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) – This review will be published October 31st!